Chairman of the Fed: William McChesney Martin Jr., and the by Mr. Robert P. Bremner

By Mr. Robert P. Bremner

William McChesney Martin Jr. (no relation to me, so far as i do know) is a crucial determine in US heritage. He led the Federal Reserve approach from 1951 to 1970, effectively protecting its independence in 5 administrations. this can be the 1st, and thus far the one, book-length biography of him.

in fact, the Fed's enterprise is financial coverage, a dizzyingly abstruse topic. yet Robert P. Bremner explains it so lucidly that even I, with just a rudimentary wisdom of economics, used to be in a position to know it.

while the Fed's financial coverage is going unsuitable, the results are stark: failed companies, misplaced jobs, misplaced reductions. not just do abstractions like GDP or CPI elicit consternation, yet actual humans round the state undergo crushing reverses. by way of an identical token, financial coverage is designed and conducted by means of genuine individuals with genuine supporters and competitors, households and careers, rules and objectives. Robert P. Bremner attracts sufficient sketches of the most characters in William McChesney Martin's lifestyles and paintings, yet I want he'd rounded them out a section extra. specifically i feel he is too nonjudgmental approximately Martin's competitors.

to understand Martin's virtues, besides the fact that, it is not essential to distinction them together with his rivals' vices. Bremner recounts Martin's blunders in addition to his successes--indeed, Martin himself in 1970 took the blame for failing to avoid what he referred to as "the wildest inflation because the Civil War." however the individual and public servant who emerges from those pages is unfailingly committed, courageous--and sincere. these have been the times.

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Additional info for Chairman of the Fed: William McChesney Martin Jr., and the Creation of the Modern American Financial System

Sample text

Although Martin had been a member of the Exchange for a relatively few years, he had amassed a broad knowledge of what actually transpired on the trading floor. D. studies of the Exchange’s regulations and research on the practices of its influential management committees. Now he was gaining firsthand experience with the problems of running the Exchange. One of Martin’s assignments from Gay in late 1935 was to deal with James M. Landis, the new chairman of the SEC, on a variety of sensitive operational issues.

Willis taught that the Fed needed strong regulatory powers, but he was also an eloquent defender of free markets. He encouraged Martin to do his doctoral thesis on the workings of the NYSE, which Willis thought was misunderstood and had been poorly portrayed in the congressional hearings of 1932. Martin was eager to learn from men who combined a scholar’s insight with practical experience in government, and he referred to their precepts often in the course of his career. As the SEC began to play a more active role in the affairs of the NYSE, Martin’s time for studies became compressed.

Charles Gay was not the only anti–Old Guard candidate nominated in 1935. Bill Martin’s disgust at the way the Exchange was run goaded him into campaigning to become the board of governor nominee of the out-of-town commission houses. ≤≥ On 12 May 1935, Gay, Martin, and Whitney were duly elected governors. Richard Whitney received more votes than any other candidate, reflecting the Old Guard’s undiminished strength. Governor Martin was assigned to three management committees, only one of which had much influence on the affairs of the Exchange.

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